By Laman Ismayilova
Graceful Karabakh horses delighted crowds at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in London on July 1-4.
Spectacular show "Khari Bulbul" was presented by the cavalry of the Azerbaijani State Border.
Skilled riders in traditional costumes left no one indifferent. The show was directed by Honored Artist Nijat Kazimov, cavalry and choreographer, Honored Artis Naila Mammadzade.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the members of the royal family were presented with a music piece "Khari Bulbul", dedicated to Azerbaijan's victory in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War.
The spectators enjoyed the state flags of Azerbaijan and the United Kingdom fluttering in the hands of the riders, the synthesis of elements of the Azerbaijani national dance with equestrian sports.
Magnificent show featured "Khudayar Tesnifi", Tofig Guliyev's "Gaitagi" and Polad Bulbuloglu's ballet "Love and Death". Azerbaijan's landscapes were also demostrated on large screens as part of the event.
The show brilliantly showcased Azerbaijan's rich culture, courage and heroism as well as graceful Karabakh horses, known as one of the rare species in the world and the oldest in Asia and the Caucasus.
Back in 1956, Queen Elizabeth II was presented with the Karabakh horse Zaman, who for the first time represented the ancient horse-breeding culture of Azerbaijan in Great Britain.
This stunning horse breed has a small, well-defined head, a straight profile with a broad forehead, and large nostrils. The neck is set high, average in length, muscular and elegant.
The color of the Karabakh breed can be red, buckthorn, brown, bay, gray or golden-red, which is also called the "golden glow".
Chovqan is a traditional horse-riding game played between two teams mounted on the Karabakh horses. Chovqan is the predecessor of modern polo. The horse racing was held during holiday festivities.
Each team has five riders, with two fullbacks and three forwards. The game starts at the centre of the field and players use wooden mallets to try to drive a small leather or wooden ball into their opponents’ goal. The game lasts 30 minutes. There is no age limit in this sport.
Chovqan players traditionally wear large astrakhan hats, long tight-fitting coats with a high waist, and special trousers, socks and shoes.
In 2013, UNESCO decided to include the game of chovqan on its Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
There are many historical facts, which prove that this sport has ancient origins.
As a result of archaeological excavations conducted in the Oren-Kala area, a vessel with images of fragments of the game Chovgan was found, which indirectly confirms the existence of this game in the 11th century in the city of Beylagan (in south of Azerbaijan).
Moreover, chovqan game is mentioned in Nizami's poem "Khosrov and Shirin", as well as in the epic "Kitabi Dede Gorgud" (the Book of Dede Gorgud).
The 11th century miniatures of the "Khosrov and Shirin" poem and Tabriz miniatures illustrate different scenes of this game. Detailed descriptions of the rules of the game are also found in ancient manuscripts.
Chovqan tournaments are being held in Azerbaijan. This sport is still popular in the country's regions.
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